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THE CASTLE OF INDOLENCE. O mortal man ! who livest here by toil, Do not complain of this thy hard estate.' That like an emmet ’ thou must ever moil,3 Is a sad sentence of an ancient date : 4 And, certes, there is for it reason great ; For though sometimes it makes thee weep and wail And curse thy star, and early drudge, and late,
Withouten that would come a heavier bale,7— Loose life, unruly passions, and diseases pale.
In lowly dale, fast by a river's side,
With woody hill o'er hill encompassed round,
A most enchanting wizard 8 did abide,
Than whom a fiend more fell 9 is nowhere found.
I ween, a lovely spot of ground :
And there a season atween June and May,
Half prankt 10 with spring, with summer half em-
browned, A listless climate made, where, sooth to say, No living wight" could work, ne 12 carèd even for play.
Was nought around but images of rest :
Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between;
And flowery beds that slumberous influence kest,13
From poppies breathed; and beds of pleasant green,
Where never yet was creeping creature seen.
Meantime unnumbered glittering streamlets played
And purlèd everywhere their waters sheen ;
Joined to the prattle of the purling' rills,
Were heard the lowing herds along the vale,
And flocks loud-bleating from the distant hills ;
And vacant? shepherds piping in the dale :
And now and then sweet Philomel 3 would wail,
Or stock-doves 'plain amid the forest deep,
That drowsy rustled to the sighing gale ;
And still a coil* the grasshopper did keep ;
Yet all these sounds yblent 5 inclinèd all to sleep.
Full in the passage of the vale above,
A sable, silent, solemn forest stood ;
Where nought but shadowy forms were seen to move,
As Idless fancied in her dreaming mood :
And up the hills on either side, a wood
Of blackening pines, aye waving to and fro,
Sent forth a sleepy horror through the blood ;
And where the valley winded out, below,
The murmuring main 7 was heard, and scarcely heard,
A pleasing land of drowsy-head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
For ever flushing round a summer sky :
There eke 8 the soft delights, that witchingly
Instil a wanton sweetness through the breast,
And the calm pleasures always hovered nigh ;
But whate'er smacked of noyance' or unrest
Was far far off expelled this delicious nest.
1 Purling, flowing with a murmuring sound.
2 Vacant, unoccupied. 3 Philomel, the nightingale.
4 Coil, a noise.
5 Yblent, blended ; they being the sign of the old past participle. 6 Aye, ever. 7 Main, the sea. 8 Eke, also. 9 Noyance, annoyance.
(1728-1774.) Born at the village of Pallas, in the county of Longford (Ireland), where his father was the clergyman on “ forty pounds a year. Studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and afterwards spent twelve months in travelling !mostly on foot) through France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. On his return settled in London, where he gained the friendship of Dr. Johnson, Edmund Burke, and other great men. Life with Goldsmith was one continuous struggle against poverty. He died in 1774, and a monument to his memory was erected in Westminster Abbey, for which Dr. Johnson wrote a Latin inscription. Goldsmith's poetical works are : The Traveller, The Deserted Village, The Hermit, Retaliation, etc. His chief prose works are The Vicar of Wakefield, A History of the Earth and Animated Nature ; and two dramas, viz., The Good-Natured Man, and She Stuops to Conquer.
Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow,
Or by the lazy Scheld, or wandering Po;?
Or onward, where the rude Carinthian boor
Against the houseless stranger shuts the door ;
Or where Campania's plain forsaken lies,
A weary waste expanding to the skies :
Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see,
My heart, untravelled, fondly turns to thee ;
Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,
And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend,
And round his dwelling guardian saints attend ;
Blest be that spot, where cheerful guests retire
To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire ;
i Or, either.
2 Scheld or Scheldt, a river which rises near Cambray in France, and flows through Belgium and Holland into the North Sea.
3 Po, a river of North Italy, which flows into the Adriatic. 4 Carinthia, a part of Austria. 5 Campania. The poet evidently means, not that part of Italy of which Naples and Capua may be regarded as centres, but the Campagna di Roma, an unhealthy and desolate district in the neighbourhood of Rome.
Blest that abode, where want and pain repair,
And every stranger finds a ready chair ;
Blest be those feasts, with simple plenty crowned,
Where all the ruddy' family around
Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail,
Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale,
Or press the bashful stranger to his food,
And learn the luxury of doing good.
But me, not destined such delights to share,
My prime of life in wandering spent and care;
Impelled with steps unceasing to pursue
Some fleeting* good, that mocks me with the view;
That like the circleó bounding earth and skies,
Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies :
My fortune leads to traverse realms alone,
And find no spot of all the world my own.
Even now, where Alpine solitudes ascend,
I sit me down, a pensive hour to spend :
And, placed on high, above the storm's career,
Look downward where a hundred realms appear ;
Lakes, forests, cities, plains extending wide,
pomp of kings, the shepherd's humbler pride.
When thus creation's charms around combine,
Amidst the store, should thankless pride repine ?
Say, should the philosophic mind disdain
That good which makes each humbler bosom vain?
Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can,
These little things are great to little man;
And wiser he, whose sympathetic mind?
Exults in all the good of all mankind.
Ye glittering towns, with wealth and splendour
Ye fields, where summer spreads profusion round;
1 Ruddy, of a red, healthy colour. 2 Pranks, sport.
8 Me. What governs this pronoun in the objective case ?
4 Fleeting, passing or flying away rapidly.
5 The circle bounding, etc., the horizon.
6 A pensive hour, a thoughtful hour.
7 Sympathetic mind, a mind that has feelings in common with those of other minds.
Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy gale ;
Ye bending swains,' that dress the flowery vale :
For me your tributary stores combine ;
Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine !
As some lone miser, visiting his store,
Bends at his treasures, counts, recounts it o'er ;
Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill,
Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still :
Thus to my breast alternate’ passions rise,
Pleased with each good that Heaven to man supplies ;
Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall,
To see the hoard of human bliss so small;
And oft I wish, amidst the scene, to find
Some spot to real happiness consigned,
Where my worn soul, each wandering hope at rest,
May gather bliss, to see my fellows blest.
But where to find that happiest spot below,
Who can direct, when all pretend to know?
The shuddering tenant' of the frigid zone
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own ;
Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,
And his long nights of revelry and ease;
The naked negro, panting at the line,
Boasts of his golden sands and palmy wine,
Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave,
And thanks his gods for all the good they gave.
Such is the patriot's boast where'er we roam,
His first, best country, ever is at home.
And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare,
And estimate the blessings which they share,
Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind :
As different good, by art or nature given,
To different nations makes their blessings even.
1 Swains, peasants.
2 Alternate passions rise, i.e., one passion after another rises.
3 Tenant of the frigid zone, inhabitant of the frigid or very cold parts of the earth.
4 Long night, in the frigid zone the length of the night varies from one to six months.
5. The line, the equator, or the equinoctial line ; i.e., the torrid or hot parts of the earth. 6 Tepid, moderately warm.